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Publication numberUSRE24889 E
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 18, 1960
Filing dateDec 24, 1952
Publication numberUS RE24889 E, US RE24889E, US-E-RE24889, USRE24889 E, USRE24889E
InventorsEarl S. Tupper
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container and cover therefor
US RE24889 E
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 18, 1960 E. s. TUPPER CONTAINER AND COVER THEREFOR Original Filed-Dec. 24. 1952 EARL 6. 'TIJPF'E United States Patent 6 ice CONTAINER AND COVER THEREFOR Earl S. Tupper, Smithfield, R.I., assignor to Tupper Corporation, North Smithfield, R.I., a corporation of Delaware Original No. 2,752,972, dated July 3, 1956, Ser. No. 327,743, Dec. 24, 1952. Application for reissue June 13, 1957, Ser. No. 666,501

10 Claims. (Cl. 150-.5)

Matter enclosed in heavy brackets appears in the original patent but forms no part of this reissue specification; matter printed in italics indicates the additions made by reissue.

This invention relates generally to containers and covers therefor including adaptation for storing food, medicines or chemicals requiring maintenance of sterility and substantially hermetical sealing, said containers and covers also being adapted for storing in refrigerators or frozen food lockers.

A main object of the invention resides in the provision of a receiving vessel capable of being sealed at all times to serve as an efficient and seal-tight enclosure whereby odors and vapors are prevented from escaping to the surrounding storage space or atmosphere and whereby the contents are preserved in the freshness thereof by reason of containment of the difiusible ingredients.

Another object of the invention resides in the provision of a vessel and cover which by virtue of shape will retain rigidity and strength notwithstanding the weight of the contents and external pressures applied thereto; but yet wherein the vessel and cover are capable of being formed of resilient and locally distortable material such as polyethylene and other material having similar physical characteristics.

A further feature of the invention resides in the provision of a vessel structure which will maintain a removable cover for sealing relationship regardless of substantial agitation of the vessel and contents, regardless of conventional conditions leading to expansion and contraction of the vessel and cover composition, and regardless of usual changes of pressure inside the vessel and cover due to expansion and contraction of the vessel contents.

Although the invention embraces a vessel body formed of any relatively rigid or ditlicultly distortable material such as polystyrene, it is particularly applicable to a body formed of a resilient and locally distortable material such as polyethylene which is chemically inert, sterile and resistant to micro-organisms, mildews and insects, unbreakable, odorless, light in weight, washable and unaffected by working temperatures. But regardless of whether polystyrene or polyethylene is used, a tight seal is always maintained despite the fact that polystyrene is subjected to greater dimension changes for temperature variations than polyethylene.

It is furthermore an object of the invention herein to provide the vessel or container described with a cover or closure member made of polyethylene or other substance having similar characteristics.

. The accomplishment of a seal tight closure for the vessel is due to the nature of the joint structure between the closure member and the vessel, the elements being so arranged that the joint becomes tighter with increase of pressure within the vessel impinging against the vessel and cover walls as will hereinafter be more fully set out. Furthermore, in accordance with the joint structure of the invention, sealing relationship between the vessel and Reissued Oct. 18, 1960.

the closure member at no time is broken with decrease of internal pressure and with increase or decrease of external pressure experienced in air travel.

A further object of the invention resides in the provision of a device which is sanitary, durable, eificient in operation and economical to produce.

The above objects and other incidental ends and advantages of the invention will hereinafter appear in the progress of the disclosure and as pointed out in the appended claims.

Accompanying this specification is a drawing showing a preferred form of the invention wherein:

Figure 1 is a view in perspective showing the assembly of a cover in sealing engagement with a cooperating vessel.

Figure 2 is a view in perspective of the device shown in Figure 1 wherein the cover is in the process of removal.

Figure 3 is a sectional view of the device across the plane 3-3 of Figure 1.

Figure 4 is a fragmentary and enlarged sectional view showing the seal-tight joint between the cover or closure member and the rim region of the vessel.

Figure 5 is a fragmentary, sectional and enlarged view of Figure 2 across the plane 5--5 thereof.

In accordance with the invention and a form shown, the container or vessel generally indicated by numeral 10 may be formed from any rigid material such as glass, composition or even metal as well as relatively stifi plastic such as polystyrene. However, by reason of shape and structure, vessel 10 is preferably formed of polyethylene or other material having similar physical characteristics such as resiliency and local distortability. Vessel 10 as shown is provided with a peripheral side wall 11 rounded at the corners as at 12. It is to be noted that the side walls are substantially straight and tapered if desired, while the rounded corners 12 contribute to the control of distortability of the general shape of the vessel thereby permitting the walls to be made of lighter gauge. The load of the contents, it will be seen, is not sufiicient to distort the vessel shape sufliciently to affect the sealing characteristics with the cover or closure member as will hereinafter be described. Vessel 10 moreover, may be molded by compression or injection as desired.

The upper outer edge rim portion of the peripheral side and corner walls has a peripheral head 13 extending from the inner rim edge, the said head projecting beyond the outer surfaces of each of the adjacent wall portions 11 and 12. Bead 13 thus serves as a flaring top edge or rim with respect to the outer surfaces of each of the ad-. jaceht wall portions 11 and 12.

Vessel 10* is provided with a cover or closure member made of polyethylene or other material having similar characteristics. The closure member, generally indicated by numeral 14, by virtue of the composition thereof is locally distortable, resilient and frictional thereby being especially suitable as a seal with vessels made of any type of material. However, with vessel 10 formed of polyethylene, the cover member forms a live and mutually resilient seal at the joint as will hereinafter be described.

More specifically, the cover or closure member is con1- prised of a central Wall 15 having an engaging and grooved rim for the edge of the vessel 10, the said rim following the shape of the vessel rim.

Engagement between closure member 14 and vessel 10 generally follows and is based on structure found in United States Patent Number 2,487,400 issued to applicant herein on November 8, 1949. However, the pres ent invention is an improvement thereover.

Thus, the cover member has an upwardly extending I and vessel'rim-receivingperipheral groove delineated by spaced inner and outer walls 16 and 17 respectively, said wall-s being connected by a top wall 18.

Central wall 15 connects with wall 16 as by inclined wall 19, while the inner side 20 of wall 17 is [downwardly] inwardly and outwardly inclined. Bottom 21 of side wall 17 is offset for finger engaging and for application purposes when the cover is respectively removed and applied to vessel 10, [purposes] and as a result of the inclination of side 20, side wall 17 is progressively thicker therealong than the substantially uniform thickness of inner and top walls 16 and 18 for a purpose hereinafter described. Thus, the inwardly inclined portion of the inner side of wall 17 below wall 18 serves both as an effective engaging groove for rim l3 and as an undercut therefor as best seen in Figure 4.

The receptacle or vessel bead or flared rim 13 and the inner faces of groove walls 16, 17 and 18 serve to form a sealing joint which becomes more resistant to opening with increases and decreases of internal pressure within the vessel by reason of the fact that inclined inner side 20 of groove outer wall extends below and inside of the outermost point of head or rim 13 and the differential thickness of outer wall 17 is under progressively greater compression with the upward and downward movement of the cover 14 until the bottom peripheral edge of inner side 20 is free of the outermost dimension of head or rim 13.

On the other hand, for purposes of removing closure member 14, the type of obstruction described is not met; Thus, the flared bottom 21 of wall 17 is first engaged by' a finger while at the same time another finger depresses central wall 15 of cover 14 as seen in Figure 2. This results in a spreading between groove walls 16 and 17 for release of head or rim 13 after which the cover is removed in a peeling-off type of operation.

When bead or rim 13 is fully engaged by the peripheral groove delineated by walls 16, 17 and 18, the mutually yieldable sealing points (if vessel 11 is of polyethylene or the like) are between the intermediate portion of inner side 20 of outer wall 17 and the underside of wall 18 with respect to bead or rim 13. The side of wall 16 contacts the inner side of the upper portion of walls 11 and 12 as shown in Figure 4 when the parts are suitably but not necessarily so dimensioned. When not so dimensioned, wall 16 is free of the rim 13 and consequently development of a substantial difierential pressure on the vessel wherein the outside exceeds the inside would cause an inward displacement of the bead or rim 13 from the effective engaging groove afiorded by the inwardly inclined portion of the inner side of wall 17. Moreover, walls 16 and 19 under such condition serves as rigidifying means for closure 14.

In order to apply closure member 14 to vessel 16, it is preferable to apply the corner portion of the peripheral groove first to a corner portion of the vessel bead or rim 13, and thereafter the remainder is engaged by progressive finger movement and pressure along groove wall 18 overlying the beaded rim of the vessel.

One of the reasons why vessel need not necessarily be made of a ditficultly disto-rtable plastic such as polystyrene is that yieldability of the vessel walls 11 between corners 12 and adjacent the joint formed between the engagement of the cover and the beaded rim of the vessel will not separate bead or rim 13 with respect to its position relative to groove walls 16, 17 and 18 because inclined side 2.0 forming an efiective groove as aforementioned traps bead 13 and prevents it from becoming free thereof. Consequently, yieldability of inclined walls 11 at rim 13 due to load within the vessel efiectuates a tighter joint at the eflective groove of wall .17. In addition, engagement between rim'13 and the efiective groove and undercut provided by the inner side of wall 17 permits the raising of a loaded vessel by the cover member without loosening the joint or separating the cover from the vessel. On the other hand inclined wall 19 on the outer surface serves as a limitation for inward displacement of vessel walls 11.

Undue external pressure applied to cover wall 15 has a tendency to lift groove wall 17, but in so doing this pressure is resisted by the progressively increased pressure between the bead or rim 13 and the inclined side 20 of groove wall 17.

Any possible variations in expansion and contraction between the cover and the vessel, it has been found, will not exceed the limits or" the sealing positions between bead or rim 13 and the sealing areas of walls 18 and 20 of the cover. Furthermore, it has been found that the central wall 15 of the closure member is sulficiently resilient to accommodate itself to difierences in pressure by becoming bowed either in the form of a concave or convex surface, there being sufficient play furnished by cover inclined Wall 19.

I wish it understood that minor changes and variations in the size, shape, thickness, integration and composition of material utilized in the invention may be resorted to without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A container having rounded corners and a mouth rim having a peripheral and external rounded bead, a closure member of polyethylene or other substance having similar physical properties and being of the same configuration and having a central wall and an upwardly oifset peripheral and inverted sealing rim groove having inner, outer and connecting groove walls e-ngageable with the container mouth rim and bead, the inner groove wall at the lower end thereof being connected to the central wall by an inwardly inclined portion, the outer groove wall being relatively thicker than the other groove walls, the inner side of the outer groove wall being inclined inwardly and extending inwardly of and below said bead when compressedly in engagement therewith and the bottom of said outer groove wall being flared for removal of the closure member from the container by finger engagement, said inner side of the outer groove wall ofiering progressively increasing resistance to removal of the closure member from the rim and bead of the container.

2. A container as set forth in claim 1 wherein the lateral dimension of the inner side of the outer groove wall along the surface is normally less than the lateral dimension of said external bead contactable therewith.

3. A container having rounded corners and a mouth rim having a peripheral and external bead, a closure member of polyethylene or other substance having similar physical properties being of the same configuration and having a central wall and an upwardly offset peripheral and inverted sealing rim groove having inner, outer and connecting groove walls each engageable respectively with the container inner rim wall, the outer face of and the top of the bead, the lower portion of the inner groove wall inclining outwardly, the outer groove wall being relatively thicker than the other groove walls, the inner side of the outer groove wall being inclined inwardly and extending inwardly of and below said bead when compressedly in engagement therewith and the bottom of said outer groove wall being flared for removal of the closure member from the container by finger engagement, said inner side of the outer groove wall oifering progressively increasing resistance to removal of the closure member from the rim and head of the container.

4. A container as set forth in claim 3, wherein. the lateral dimension of the inner side of the outer groove wall along the surface is normally less than the lateral dimension of said external bead contactable therewith.

5. A container assembly comprising a dish having a bottom and side walls extending upwardly from the bottom and having outwardly flaring top edges, the bottom being polygonal and the side walls substantially straight andv merging with the. bottom and with each other at corners of the container, and the side walls being made of stifl flexible material that bows outwardly to some extent in response to pressure against the inside surfaces of the straight walls, a cover having a top wall and downwardly extending sides, and having grooves in the inside faces of the downwardly extending sides for engagement by the outwardly flaring top edges of the side walls of the dish, the pressure of the top edges of the side walls into the grooves being increased by outward bowing of the straight portions of the side walls and being increased by a deeper load of material in the dish exerting side pressure against the side walls of the dish.

6. A container assembly comprising a one piece plastic dish having a polygonal bottom and resilient side walls extending upwardly from the bottom and sloping outwardly as they extend upwardly and having outwardly flaring top edges, the side walls being substantially straight and joined at rounded corners of the dish, and a cover having a top wall and downwardly extending sides with grooves in the inside faces of the sides and into which the outwardly flaring top edges of the dish engage, the pressure of the top edges of the side walls into the grooves being increased by outward bowing of the straight portions of the side walls and being increased by a deeper load of material in the dish exerting side pressure against the side walls of the dish.

7. A container assembly comprising a dish having a bottom and resilient side walls extending upwardly from the bottom and having outwardly flaring top edges, the bottom being polygonal and the side walls substantially straight and merging with the bottom and with each other at corners of the container, and the side walls being made of stifi flexible material that bows outwardly to some extent in response to pressure against the inside surfaces of the straight walls, and a cover having a top wall with downwardly extending sides and grooves in the inside faces of the sides engaged by the outwardly flaring top edges of the side walls of the dish, the sides which extend downwardly from the top wall being shaped so that they converge below the grooves to form a throat having a cross section less than the cross section of the undistorted top edges of the dish, and the sides flaring outwardly below the throat to provide a flaring entrance through which the top edges of the dish pass toward the throat where the flaring top edges are distorted as the cover is placed on the dish for subsequent movement of the top edges into the grooves in the inside faces of the sides of the cover.

8. A container assembly comprising a plastic dish of one-piece construction and having a polygonal bottom and resilient side walls extending upwardly from the bottom and sloping outwardly as they extend upwardly, the side walls being substantially straight and joined by rounded corners and having outwardly flaring top edges, and a cover having a top wall and downwardly extending sides with grooves in the inside faces of the sides and into which the outwardly flaring top edges of the side walls of the dish engage when the side walls are in their normal undistorted positions, the sides which extend downwardly from the top wall of the cover being shaped so that they extend closer together below the grooves, and being shaped so that at a still lower level the confronting faces of said sides flare outwardly away from one another to provide a wide entrance for receiving the top edges of the dish when the dish and cover are brought together to assemble them with one another, the pressure of the top edges of the side walls into the grooves being increased by outward bowing of the straight portions of the side walls and being increased by a deeper load of material in the dish exerting side pressure against the side walls of the dish.

9. The container assembly described in claim 8 and in which the cover is made of plastic material and of one piece construction, and the cover is stiffened around its outer edge portion by an ofiset top wall portion.

10. A container assembly comprising a vessel of resilient plastic having a bottom and side walls extending upwardly from the bottom and having outwardly flaring top edges, the bottom being polygonal and the side walls being yieldable in response to pressure against the inside surfaces of the straight walls, and a resilient cover having a top wall with dowlnwardly extending sides at the periphery, at least the inside faces of said sides having a grooved, undercut and outwardly flared formation for application to and engagement with said outwardly flaring top edges of the side walls of the vessel, said top wall of the cover inside of the periphery thereof having an upwardly offset portion from which said downwardly extending sides depend for rigidifying said cover.

References Cited in the file of this patent or the origlnal patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,430,685 Sampson Oct. 3, 1922 1,694,851 Glass Dec. 11, 1928 1,972,895 Maccoy Sept. 11, 1934 2,134,441 Geluso Oct. 25, 1938 2,487,400 Tupper Nov. 8, 1949 2,606,586 Hill Aug. 12, 1952 2,614,727 Robinson Oct. 21, 1952 2,695,115 Roop Nov. 23, 1954 12,695,645 Tupper Nov. 30, 1954 2,711,840 Gits et a1. June 28, 1955 2,726,517 Pructt Dec. 13, 1955

Referenced by
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US3137409 *Jan 23, 1963Jun 16, 1964Sweetheart PlasticsContainer cover
US3195720 *Aug 28, 1961Jul 20, 1965Gevaert Photo Prod NvCassette for photographic film or photographic paper
US3246440 *Jul 24, 1963Apr 19, 1966Chicago United Products CompanFastener assembly
US3298590 *Apr 7, 1964Jan 17, 1967Phillips Petroleum CoCigarette box
US3504823 *May 6, 1968Apr 7, 1970Monsanto CoContainer
US5427266 *Sep 27, 1993Jun 27, 1995Yun; James K.Seal indicator for lid and container